Feinwerkbau P70FT Review
by Neil MacKinnon
Could anything be feinwer.
On a mission to try and shoot every FT rifle there is, Neil MacKinnon has now got his hands on the Feinwerkbau P70FT.
I am quite new to FT shooting, but it is clear that rifles have a time when they are THE gun to have. This continues until either the manufacturer brings out the next model, or until someone else brings it out.
We are currently in an odd position. Air Arms, one of the most successful FT rifle producers, have finished production of the Pro-Target, and not yet started on the EV2. Other manufacturers like Daystate and Ripley are making guns as fast as they can, but there is still a gap in the market. This happens to coincide with the moment the European manufacturers have started to get interested in FT. The result is that new names are creeping in to fill the gap.
I recently tested the Steyr LG100, a Match rifle derived FT gun, and now I have my hands on the FWB P70FT, again a Match rifle derived FT gun. I am careful in my use of words, as neither are converted Match guns, but both are the first efforts of their respective companies into the world of FT.
The major components of this rifle are a blended mix of anodised aluminium, laminated wood, and plastic. All neatly colour coded to match either the red, or blue finish.
This gun comes with every conceivable adjustment you can imagine, so rather than give you a blow by blow, lets be brief(ish).
The butt hook adjusts in two parts, so that not only does it move up and down and from side to side, as well as having the ability to diagonally twist. You can also make the jaws of the butt open and close.
The reach of the stock can be changed, using the groovy looking knob underneath the cheek piece. Speaking of which, the cheek piece goes up, down, back, forward, twists, and just about everything else except make the tea.
The rear section of the stock rotates to raise or lower the butt pad assembly.
Moving to the pistol grip. This really only has one adjustment, back. It is used to lengthen the reach to the trigger, and here I hit a small snag.
I have very long fingers, and so moved the trigger blade forward, and the grip back. Reach was then perfect, but my trigger finger was then lifted slightly off the grip and pushed up against a square edge. This could easily be filed down, but is distracting in the meantime.
The pistol grip is nicely sculpted in laminate, but does not allow you to shoot thumb up. The palm swell is well shaped and comfortable, but where your fingers rest is part of the aluminium chassis, and so they are left with nowhere to go. The grip is well positioned and keeps wrist and finger alignment just right. The gun is available in both left and right handed versions, however there is a £40.00 extra charge for the keggyhanders Iím afraid.
The trigger blade moves in just about every direction, and has left and right handed adjustment rails. All the usual adjustments for the trigger are there, but a real feature is the pair of thumb wheels built into the trigger guard. The wheel at the front adjusts the 1st stage length, and the wheel at the back, the 2nd stage break weight. This gives you fine tuning, in the field, while shooting, without tools. Neat.
Immediately in front of the trigger is the laminated wood fore end, which is a little shallow for my tastes, but no real problem to use. This can move forward on an accessory rail. The rail is to FWBís own dimensions, so any accessories you want to fit, will have to be specific.
Above the trigger group at the top of the action, is the breech block assembly. This is opened by pushing a slide, located at the breech end of the air tube. The breech block retracts automatically, allowing a pellet to be thumbed directly into the barrel. There is a white nylon moulded block on the right of the breech block assembly, and pushing this down closes, and locks the breech. A real criticism here Iím afraid, and if anyone from FWB is reading this article, PLEASE take note.
That nylon breech closing block, is the tackiest piece of stuff I have ever seen on any gun in my life. What on earth it is doing on a gun of this quality, which drips with beautifully anodised aluminium, is completely beyond me. FWB, if you donít sort this out, then there are a host of home machinists who will.
There is a barrel shroud the entire length of the 25 inch barrel, the rear of which has a dovetail machined into it. This is the front scope mount. The rear scope mount, is at the very back of the action, where a diopter sight block would attach. So what?
Well, one is aluminium, and the other steel. I honestly donít believe it will cause any problems, but I know some will worry. I think only time will tell.
Below the barrel is the polished aluminium air tube, which has to be unscrewed to be re-filled. Some will not like this, others, like me , are not bothered. There is a gauge in the end of the tube, to tell you the current state of your air supply.
The whole gun is finished off, with a polished aluminium muzzle shroud, which is purely decorative.
This is a really good looking machine, it gives the impression of being a thoroughbred competition animal. Can it live up to itís looks? I donít doubt it.
How do your targets fall.
It has to be said, this is a heavy rifle. 10lbs bare, more, once youíve tooled it up. However, it is incredibly well balanced, with the point of balance right underneath the breech.
I topped off the rifle with my Leupold EFR, a favourite scope of mine. This added minimum weight, and did not upset the balance.
It is difficult to keep pouring praise on guns without appearing to be insincere, and enjoying shooting as much as I do, it is always a pleasure to shoot any gun, just to enjoy the experience, but it has to be said, the FWB is a very fine shooting rifle indeed.
The lock time, or speed of release, is very fast. Just about the fastest thing Iíve ever shot. This is a plus, and a minus. The plus is, that you are able to release those Ďiffyí standers so fast, that you immediately improve your scores. The minus is, that this rifle punishes any loss of concentration mercilessly. You donít just miss targets, you miss by a mile.
Trying my usual brands of pellets, and grouping at 25yards initially showed that the FWB is not particularly fussy. I was getting tiny pellet hole sized groups with everything from Superdomes, to Air Arms 4.52ís, and having shot the gun for some time, and spoken to other users, my suggestion is you pick your favourite, and try them.
The trigger is a delight. I like a long, light, first stage, with a brick wall stop, and clean break on the second. The FWB was easily able to deliver, and the fine tuning of the second stage meant that in the end, I was barely conscious of releasing the shot at all, just the result when it hit.
Cocking and loading the FWB is uncomplicated. There is plenty of room for fingers and thumbs, and the action closes with a nice click. The loading cycle is reminiscent in many ways of my Pro-Target.
One thing I am always aware of with my FT guns is cant, or leaning of the rifle. This will kill your scores quicker than a quick thing with Ď QUICKí written on it. Most Match derived rifles almost encourage cant, as it does not affect 10 metre shooters at all. The stock designers therefore, donít take it into account in their designs.
The multitude of adjustments on the FWB, mean that I have all but removed any propensity to cant this rifle. Still, I fitted a bubble gauge, just for reference.
As this is an out and out FT rifle, how does it feel in the three stances?
Freestyle. I use a technique where I rest my left hand on my left knee to support the fore end of the gun, rather than shooting over my arm, sort of Nick Jenkinson, rather than Terry Doe.
In this stance, the fore end is a little shallow, same as my Pro-T. The solution is a bench rest bean bag, which also aids stability.
Because of itís weight, the FWB is absolutely rock solid, and because of itís balance, you donít actually feel the weight.
Kneeling. The balance of the FWB removes the usual up / down wobble, allowing you to relax onto aim. The trigger and lock time allow you to get your timing spot on. I like kneelers, and I usually hit what Iím after here, but I could feel the improvement.
Standing. Well, you have to gird your loins for the standers, but once again that balance point means itís not too much to deal with. The mega bonus here is the trigger. The weight and balance means I can actually stabilize much faster, and as soon as your on, the shot has gone, a definite plus.
So overall, I would say that given a month of regular shooting, to tune both me to the gun, and the gun to me, then the FWB would benefit my scores.
Accuracy tests provided evidence that this is definitely in the super gun league, and so it should be. Given the price, and the competition, it simply must perform to survive. I know no harsher arena than competition, and no more demanding owners than FT shooters. So, the day after setting the rifle up, I shot an informal competition against a group of my club mates. This is something we do on a regular basis, and we have some pretty fair shooters.
In cold and windy conditions, I managed a 25, on our 30 shot course. Not too bad, until you find out the nearest other shot to me struggled to get a 22, with a gun he regularly wins with. Nuff said.
Velocity is not something I would usually worry about. But the FWB is rated at 15 Joules, rather than the 16 of other European manufacturers. What the chrono tells me is that without tuning, the FWB sits around the 775 fps mark. A string of 30 shots showed a 10fps variation, and I would expect this variation to get less, as the regulator beds in.
As it happens, this is perfect for me, as I usually set my FT rifles to 780fps.
This is a fine competition rifle, with an excellent trigger, and solid construction. It is on the heavy side, which means it will not suit everyone. However that said, a lady at our club who shoots 10 metre Match thought it was fantastic, and she only stands 5í 4Ē, so itís up to you.
The construction, and the accuracy are well up to current required standards, allowing it to slot right into the market with the best of them.
So what are the downs. Well, that nasty nylon block for one, and more individually, the barrel. At 25Ē it is long by any standards, so your shooting technique, and follow through need to be spot on, despite the fast lock time, otherwise you will see the unfortunate results. As I said earlier, when you miss with the FWB, you really miss.
Being a sucker for a field target rifle, I have added this fine gun to my growing collection, or should that be addiction. Iíll keep you posted.
|Action:||Pre-charged single shot|
|Stock: .||Aluminium / laminate wood|
|Sights: .||None, dovetail fitted for scope|
|Weight:||4.67kg (10.3 lbs)|
|Overall Length:||1117mm (44 inches)|
|Barrel Length:||635mm (25 inches)|
|Trigger:||Match grade, two stage, adjustable.|
|Power:||11.2 ft/lbs, using Air Arms Field 4.52|
Many thanks once again, to Vernon at Mendip Shooting Ground for the loan of the rifle.